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Holiday traffic projected to rise

Thanksgiving holiday traffic is projected by AAA to rise over 3 percent from an uncharacteristic decline last year.

“Traffic dropped slightly last year, which is unusual; but this year it’s rebounded in a big way,” said Clay Ingram, AAA Alabama spokesperson. “The natural increase is right around 1 percent give or take, so to go up even 2 percent would be a pretty big jump. To see it go up 3.3 percent is just a tremendous jump.”

Nearly 51 million Americans are expected to be on the road during the holiday weekend from Wednesday, Nov. 22 to Sunday, Nov. 26.

Ingram said statistics can’t be broken up easily by state, but Orlando tops all destinations for the weekend and Ingram said many people will actually be heading to the Florida beaches.

“Believe it or not, a fair number of people are headed to the beach,” Ingram said. “People have condos and houses down that way and they’re using those for family gatherings as well. There’s no question there will be a lot of traffic through Troy.”

The major increase comes despite gas prices that are 30 cents higher than the national average a year ago.

“Most of us have an emotional connection to Thanksgiving and Christmas; it’s a time we get to see friends and family we don’t get to see any other time of the year,” Ingram said. “It’s hard to call grandparents and say ‘Gas prices are up 20 cents a gallon, so we’re not going to make it for Christmas.’ They don’t play too much of a part on how many people travel during these holiday.”